Here it is! The information I spoke of in my last blog. This is the second portion of the tools I received that day, when I looked within for answers to my “trust” issues. I am an intelligent person. What was I doing to play out these scenes over and over again? The Trust-o-Meter article posted on the OWN website helped me get a better perspective. Below is a portion of that article by Martha Beck, called “Who’s Never Going to Let You Down“:
” … If your inner software is working well, your trust-o-meter is guiding you safely through life’s many hazards. If it isn’t, you smash into one disappointment or betrayal after another. The good news is that no matter how faulty your trust-o-meter, it’s never too late to debug the system. Here’s one short quiz to help you determine if your trust-o-meter needs recalibrating.
The “yes” questions:
1. Does Person X usually show up on time?
2. When Person X says something is going to happen, does it usually happen?
3. When you hear Person X describing an event and then get more information about that event, does the new information usually match Person X’s description?
The “no” questions:
4. Have you ever witnessed Person X lying to someone or assuming you’ll help deceive a third person?
5. Does Person X sometimes withhold information in order to make things go more smoothly or to avoid conflict?
6. Have you ever witnessed Person X doing something (lying, cheating, being unkind) that he or she would condemn if another person did it?
These questions might seem trivial. They’re not. As the saying goes, “the way we do anything is the way we do everything.” I’m not saying we have the ultimate power or right to judge others. But if you trust someone whose behavior doesn’t pass the six screening questions above, your trust-o-meter may well be misaligned. If Person X rated more than one “no” on the first three questions, and more than one “yes” on the second three, they don’t warrant total trust at present. If you trust someone who blew all six questions, you need some readjustments. You don’t have to change Person X (you can’t), but you do need to take a hard look at your own patterns of trust.
By the way, if you’re now rationalizing Person X’s behavior with arguments like “But he means well” or “It’s not her fault; she had a terrible childhood,” your trust-o-meter is definitely on the fritz. These are the small lies we use to tell ourselves we’re comfortable when we aren’t. It’s not the end of the world if Person X lies to you. Lying to yourself, on the other hand, can make your life so miserable, the end of the world might be a relief.
Learning to Trust Everyone and Everything
“The Master…trusts people who are trustworthy,” wrote Lao Tzu, my favorite philosopher. “She also trusts people who aren’t trustworthy. This is true trust.” Many earnest do-gooders skew this to mean that everyone is noble at the core, every crazy stranger should be invited to sleep in the children’s room, every elected official is intelligent and just. But that’s not “true trust”; it’s another version of denial, like the one Pema Chödrön calls by the memorable label “idiot compassion.”
So what does it mean to “trust people who aren’t trustworthy”? I pondered this earlier today, as I watched the lions devour the buffalo, the leopard attack the impala, the baboons stealing breakfast. I am very wary of these beasts, but that doesn’t mean I don’t trust them. I depend on them deeply—to do what they usually do. Lions and leopards can be trusted to eat animals about my size. Baboons can be trusted to steal food whenever possible. Because I know this, I adapt my behavior to avoid getting eaten or pilfered.
By the same token, if someone in your life pulls in a dismal score on the Trust Test, perpetually failing to keep promises, tell the truth, quit drinking, or show compassion, this is exactly what you can depend on them to keep doing. Addicts can be trusted to lie. Narcissists can be trusted to backstab. And people who reliably do their best, whose stories check out against your own observations, can be trusted to stay relatively honest and stable.
When you spot faulty programming in your trust-o-meter, you may experience some deep grief. You’ll have to acknowledge what you already know, deep down: that your alcoholic dad may never be reliable, that you may have picked an irresponsible partner, that the friend who never supports you probably never will. You may face some tough choices as your debugged trust-o-meter directs you away from familiar negative patterns and into new behaviors. But as you more accurately predict what will happen, you’ll feel a new, growing confidence. Your life will begin to work.
This is why I feel so much safer today, in the bushveld, than I once did in my home. Yes, it’s a jungle out here, but it’s a jungle everywhere. Life, in fact, is just one big wilderness. But you were born for this wilderness, and you have the instruments to negotiate it safely. Does that thought feel comfortable? Really, truly comfortable? As soon as it does, you’ve found your way to the first part of Goethe’s promise: You can trust yourself. And because Goethe was a trustworthy person, you can rely on the second part of his promise following automatically. You really will know how to live.”
Here’s another quick test to help you determine whether you know how to detect trustworthy people.
Thank you Martha Beck and OWN for posting that article. I felt a great sense of freedom and release from this information. I wanted to share this with anyone and everyone out there struggling with issues and answers to these hard questions.
Until next time … Working on the daily process that is me … and Keeping that inner light shining!